Exercising in a hot environment can impair exercise performance and increase the risk of heat illness. Heat acclimation helps to improve exercise performance and minimise the risk of heat illness in a hot environment. However, the current heat acclimation recommendations are based on studies conducted primarily in males. It's therefore unclear whether these same recommendations are equally effective in females.
We are conducting several projects investigating the effectiveness of different heat acclimation strategies for inducing heat adaptations and improving endurance cycling performance in a hot environment in females.
Such findings would be used to enhance exercise performance and reduce the risk of heat illness in unacclimated female athletes preparing to compete in hot conditions.
Eligibility & requirements
The study is open to females 18-45 years, who cycle a minimum of 3 hours per week.
What you will do
We will first ask you to fill in several short questionnaires about your family medical history, your menstrual cycle and your exercise habits. You will then be asked to attend the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at our Footscray Park campus on twelve occasions over a period of five weeks for a series of tests:
- a VO2 max test
- a familiarization session
- six heat acclimation sessions
- four testing trials (one before and three after the heat acclimation).
We will also take a small blood sample on several of the visits. The familiarization session and exercise testing trials will take about 1 hour and 2.5 hours, respectively. The heat acclimation sessions will last ~90-120 mins.
To confirm stable training status prior to the study, you will be asked to maintain your normal training and keep a training log during the last 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the study.
You will also be asked to avoid any prolonged heat exposures (e.g., sauna or spa bathing) during this period. You will need to notify the researchers if you get pregnant during the study, in which case you will not be allowed to continue the study.
Benefits of participating
If you participate in our studies, you may improve your ability to exercise in the heat and you may also improve your aerobic fitness.
You will gain detailed scientific information about your current fitness level, as well as increase your understanding of fitness tests used by sports scientists, which will be performed in a state-of-the-art purpose-built training facility.
You will also gain the experience of having participated in an exercise science experiment designed to increase knowledge about the effectiveness of short-term heat acclimation on endurance performance.